Over 10 years ago, I got to know a man from Guatemala named Gustavo.
It was interesting to meet people from a variety of countries and cultures living in Vancouver, BC.
Like many others, Gustavo had moved to Canada and the lower mainland hoping for a better life. And yes, while this isn’t his real picture Gustavo is his real name.
Back then, my wife and I often travelled to northern British Columbia during the summer in order to work in the Rocky Mountains; going to college wasn’t cheap and we had bills to pay. One year, Gustavo signed up to be on my tree planting crew for the season. It was good to have him on the team. For I enjoyed Gustavo and considered him to be a friend.
But something happened during that summer which ended the relationship. And I still feel bad about it. It wasn’t really about anything I did; it was more about what I didn’t do. But regardless of the cause the result was the same: Gustavo was deeply hurt and offended -although I still do not understand exactly why. But my guess is that he felt disrespected because of how a few people on the crew had treated him.
Looking at it through North American eyes, what happened was no big deal and all in good fun. But that is not how Gustavo saw it. Of this, I am sure. He left the very next day, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since.
Please understand that I am telling this story in order to point out my own mistakes and to introduce a relevant topic. It is not at all my desire to cause further offense in so doing. The point here is that I should have made more of an effort to understand a friend who came from a different country and culture.
Causing offense, even accidentally, can lead to serious problems. Life quickly becomes more stressful and more difficult. An offense seldom improves a situation. But nobody needed to tell you that.
Proverbs 18:19 confirms what we already know. Reflecting on this verse, as well as personal experience, I recently submitted a guest post to a career company in the USA entitled, “Three Ways to Avoid Causing Offense at the Office (and Everywhere Else).”
Would you like to avoid causing offense? Read the advice I should have followed many years ago.
*As always, if you have a question or concern, please click on “Contact information” at the bottom of the page and send in your thoughts. To leave a public comment, click on the grey conversation bubble at the top and to the right of each post.
© Career & Life Direction 2013. All rights reserved.